My very first boyfriend once drove to my house late at night, threw rocks at my bedroom window and failing to wake me wrote the lyrics to “Just Like Heaven” by the Cure on a worn piece of paper torn from a spiral notebook and left it under my windshield wiper. At the time, I remember thinking this was the most romantic thing in the world.
A few months ago, I got talked into playing foosball with a bunch of half-drunk friends. The next morning stretched across my bed nursing a hangover and scratching my dog’s head, I had the realization that I was happy. That moment, the one Daisy told me would come last spring, over cold beers and more than a few tears from both of us, had arrived.
Today, I’m thinking about the fact that the people I am closest to are those that I never would have met if I hadn’t done something completely unexpected. These are the friends I can count on to tell me to pack my duffel bag and get on the greyhound bus, go lift some heavy shit, or show up at my doorstep on a random Tuesday night because she didn’t like the way I sounded. I wouldn’t give these people back to the universe for anything. I surely don’t know how I would have gotten here from there without these people.
I have a long history of being too hard on myself. It isn’t something I like it is just something I fail at controlling more often than I care to admit. It is no coincidence that the song lyric “every day I fight a war against the mirror, can’t stand the person looking back at me” speaks to me. Loudly. It is not all about physical appearance it is much deeper than that. I occasionally think this will go away, but reality says that at 42, I’m not likely to give it up.It’s as much a part of me as my freckles. I’d like very much to be as kind to myself as these people are to me. I’d like to be able, like Daisy does to hear myself saying or thinking something harsh and have my ‘kinder half’ jump up and cry “FOUL!” I’d like to have that same half remind me that in the past, I didn’t always sound as happy as I insisted I was, or even just remind me that in spite of my irrational fears I am still loved, and lovable.
Those handwritten Cure lyrics smeared from morning dew were the closest thing I have ever gotten to a love letter. I remember that for months after that first relationship ended I could not listen to that song. I know those now, 20-some odd years later, I still think of him when I hear it. Gratefully, I no longer have the accompanying gut-wrenching, heartbroken feeling, but instead I have gratitude for the gift of feeling loved at such a young age. The gift is in knowing that even then, with little to no direction, nothing I could call my own, and a diehard belief that platinum blond hair was the best look for me, he found me worthy of loving.
There’s no doubt I grew into a better version of that girl. There’s no doubt that 20-some odd years later, I am still worthy, even on those days I’m at war with the person in the mirror. There’s also no doubt that I hate the part of me that needs external reassurance of these things.
When I started dating it was incredibly forced, and probably, I had no business being there. I’d forgotten what it felt like to be on a date; to sit across the dinner table from someone who could get through a meal without looking at their cell phone once. It turns out, there are people in this world who find me infinitely more interesting, than their phone. That, in fact, when it rings, or buzzes or whistles, they actually only touch it to turn it OFF.
Last year when things were at their worst - I thought I had done the best I could do. I didn’t believe there was any more in me or for me. Turns out I was wrong about that. There is more, in me and for me.